COME ON! Great performance from Roger here in a very tough match against Thomas Berdych. Fed had to use all his guile and experience to get himself over the line in 3 difficult sets and in doing so won his 20th ATP Masters 1000 title to equal the record set by some Spanish player.
I was hoping that Roger would be able to put on another clinic today just like in his victory against Tipsarevic but the first set was all about Berdych. Federer created 0-30 in Berdych's opening service game but the Czech was totally pulverising his ground strokes and serve from the get go and subsequently held.
At 30-30 in Feds first service game, he played a very casual looking choppy approach shot that went straight into the net. He was caught in two minds really and played the wrong type of shot. This let Berdych in and he sealed the break with a huge return into the open court.
The one break proved to be decisive as Berdych was really zoning in. As I tweeted during the match it was important that Roger hung tough in the match and stuck around long enough for Berdychs' level to drop. It was actually a real bonus that Roger managed to hold serve at 5-2 as it meant he would serve first in the second set.
It wasn't unrealistic to think the match could get away from Fed the way Berdych was playing especially in the 3 set format but he fashioned a break early to lead 2-0. Barring a shocking umpiring decision from Layhani (see the video below), where he gave the point to Berdych despite the ball bouncing twice, the second set was all about solid serving from Fed and Berdshits 1st serve % dropping ever so slightly.
Poor Umpiring from Leyhani
Roger served for it at 5-3 but was broken, 2 quick service games from each player and it looked like it would be heading into a tie break. Fed however had other ideas and broke again after Berdych double faulted to take the match into a decider.
After levelling the match I put Federer back as favourite as he'd managed to nullify the Berdych game throughout the second set with a combination of great serving and some immense running forehands creating the craziest of angles.
It's difficult to put into words how much Roger was tested in the final set, he slipped to 0-30 in his opening 3 service games and he really had to dig deep to keep himself alive in the match. At 4-3, Fed upped his game and made a move, he hit probably his best return of serve of the match to create BP and got it when Berdych went long with a backhand.
As usual the drama wasn't over, serving for the match at 5-3 Fed's 1st serve went AWOL and he only made 1 of 6 to relinquish the break. Yet again another poor decision from Leyhani probably cost Roger the game as it meant he lost the all important first point. A serve caught the line, was called out, and even though Berdych wasn't getting it back in play for love nor money he deemed that the call was off putting. FAIL.
Almost like an action replay of the second set both players held their next service games and Roger led 6-5. He once again made a move. One point in my mind stands out where Roger hit 2 big forehands to get on top in the rally only for Berdych to hit an even bigger forehand cross court to get the initiative back, Roger then came up with an absolute dream of a short slice backhand which quite simply bamboozled Berdych and all he could do was hit it wide. Immense.
To his credit Berdych saved 3 match points but at the 4th time of asking Roger sealed it winning his 3rd title in Madrid and his 74th on the tour. Awesome.
One of the Cute Twins Nearly Falls Over in the Trophy Presentation
Haha this look on Mirka's face here is pirceless. Hopefully the video starts at 9 minutes.
My thoughts on Roger's Victory
This was really a great week for Fed fans and it's meant Roger has kept up his winning streak that started after last years US Open.
Roger was able to come through a great match against Raonic that could have gone either way, put on 3 JesusFed shows against Gasquet, Ferrer and Tispsarevic and then battle to another title today against Berdych. It is pretty incredible what the winning mindset can do to a player and it's certainly allowing Roger to take down matches where he's often on the back foot. There really is nothing that can stop it at the moment, he's handling big servers, slippy conditions, wind and making the majority of players look totally average.
His serve has been impeccable all week and he's proved that he has the most adaptable game on tour and probably of all time. Whilst everyone else has been moaning and making empty threats they won't be playing next year because of the surface, Roger has just gotten on with his matches and let his tennis do the talking. The one negative to take from it all is that we know now that once Roger retires, tennis is going to be in a sad sad state as there's nobody that can take the mantle of ambassador of the game. Nadal is a humble fraudster and Djokovic still lacks the maturity and intelligence of how to behave in the right manner.
Awesome Racket Head Control
Check this shit out, cray catch, thanks to @KJOttawa for finding the video
A song to put it all together
And finally here's a tune I heard the other day that I've been playing on repeat. It's called “A Real Hero” and I thought it was pretty fitting after today's match I'm sure you'll agree.
I'll be back blogging when Rome starts, assuming Roger plays, I heard rumours he wasn't certain to be, and after today where my twitter timeline was flooded with talk of a hip injury? Is that confirmed?